Giants spring training 2013: The one where pitchers and catchers report!

That's from two years ago, but now there's a new one and I'll bet it's pretty awesome, too. - Rob Tringali

PITCHERS AND CATCHERS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS PITCHERS AND CATCHERS

Feels like there should be something more we should do when pitchers and catchers report. We get all Internet giddy, and type things like "squeeeeeee", but is that all there is? I'm not saying there needs to be a blood ritual, but … well, something between an interpretive dance and a blood ritual. We're all smart folks, here. We can figure something out.

Because pitchers and catchers have reported. O frabjous day, he chortled in joy. And with pitchers and catchers, you'll get position players who didn't have anything better to do. Scottsdale is a-hoppin' with baseball players, and that means there are going to be quotes to dissect and tidbits to harrumph. It also means there are articles to read! Let's look them over. Here's one:

Rowand might be what manager Bruce Bochy had in mind in October when he said he wanted to infuse a "warrior spirit" into this team. That slogan, along with "Find The Swagger," appears on a camouflage-style T-shirt that was hung in each player's locker here. Are these mere platitudes? To skeptics who believe this team is sunk before Game 1, the words ring hollow. Rowand believes the sentiments are important if practically applied.

Gaaaaaah. Let me try something. Hold on. Maybe this will work:

"He wasn't talked about as much as what was speculated, (or) raised by other teams," Sabean said.

That's probably because Lowry wasn't healthy to end the season; his forearm tightness might have been caused by a bone spur that tests picked up years ago. Opposing executives and scouts also were scared off by Lowry's peripheral stats - 87 walks and 87 strikeouts in 156 innings.

Dammit, someone set the dial to "2008." That's a good way to kill a pitchers-and-catchers buzz. Instead, I direct your attention to Alex Pavlovic's transcription of Bruce Bochy's state-of-the-Giants press conference earlier on Tuesday. You have to read the quotes in Bochy's voice for the full effect.

Bochy says:

It’s too bad (Heath Hembree) had (an injury) last year. There might have been a time or two where he would have been up here so we could take a look at him. I look forward to watching Heath."

Possible translation:
Hembree will get some time in the majors this year. I'm not sure if there's a spot on the 25-man roster if he looks great in the spring, but I think part of the Giants' reticence to re-sign Brian Wilson had to do with his outlet-store equivalent already being an in-house option.

Bochy says:

I think (Sergio Romo) earned it coming out of the chute to get the lion’s share of these saves. But at the same time we do want to protect him and we have some guys that are comfortable pitching late in the ballgame."

Translation:
If you were assuming that Romo was the de facto closer because he gave up one runner in three World Series saves, note that he isn't the automatic choice. He probably is, but the presence of Jose Mijares and Javier Lopez make it easier to use Jeremy Affeldt in the closer's role if there's a reason to. And one reason to would be the fear of wearing him down with a steady stream of pointless, up-by-three saves.

Which makes sense, actually. I think I'd even prefer Romo as the pitcher who came in when you really needed him, rather as the guy who comes in the ninth of a 9-6 ballgame because that's just what closers are supposed to do. The odds are still good, though, that Romo will be the closer, used in all manner of typical closer situations.

Bochy says:

(Brown) is going to be playing center field for the most part but I may move him around a little bit just to take a look at it. I may not, but I would like to take a look at it because Angel is our center fielder. Brown needs to keep his options open and he’s getting close now.

Translation:
oh god there's a chance that Pagan will still play center if Brown is playing at the same time.

You know that scene from "Homer at the bat" where Homer Simpson asks Darryl Strawberry if Strawberry is the better softball player, and Strawberry says, "I don't know you, but … yes"? That's how I feel with Brown and Pagan when it comes to defense. I haven't seen Brown roam the expanses of Mays Field yet, and I know that Pagan does okay out there … but I would bet cash money that Brown is the superior defender, and that it isn't really close.

Of course, we'll have to see if Brown can hit enough (especially righties) before we get too worried, but I have a feeling this will become one of those things at some point in the next two seasons. Brown in left, while we get to watch Pagan do the Benard two-step on fly balls to center.

Bochy says:

With these outfielders and all the games we play, they’re going to get a pretty good workload. It will also allow us to put Belt out there or Brett Pill or guys that we may want to see out there in left field."

Translation:
Belt is still going to get a look in the outfield.

That's not a bad thing on the surface. If Buster Posey is going to play first base every fifth game or so, it becomes a choice between Belt and Gregor Blanco. The difference in defense might make it closer to a push, but I'd still trust Belt's bat more. I'm not as sure about the Pill thing -- this is why it was okay to daydream about Reed Johnson or even Scott Hairston -- but starting Belt in left here and there is a good way to keep his bat in the lineup.

Possible translation of the translation:
Hector Sanchez is going to start a bunch, and we need to put Belt somewhere every once in a while so we don't have to hear all the whining and crying from the peanut gallery.

I prefer the first interpretation. It's not a bad thing to make a player more versatile, right?

Pitchers and catchers report! And they've seen their shadows, which means that the Giants won the World Series last year. There's only so much longer that we can be totally arrogant about that.

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